The INSIDER daily digest -- April 11, 2024

By John Liang / April 11, 2024 at 2:34 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on Pentagon officials urging lawmakers to pass the supplemental spending bill to help arm Ukraine, plus coverage from this week's Space Symposium and more.

Senior DOD officials this week discussed the necessity of passing the supplemental spending bill to aid Ukraine:

Russia poised to 'outshoot' Ukraine 10-1 in coming weeks without U.S. aid, top NATO general says

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, chief of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander of NATO, said today that Russia currently has a 5-1 advantage over Ukraine when it comes to firing artillery shells, an alarming mismatch that in the coming weeks will be 10-1 if Congress doesn't pass a supplemental security spending bill to provide Kyiv with additional U.S. weapons.

Lack of supplemental will impact training of Ukrainians by late May, Wormuth says

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told Congress today that by late May, the lack of a supplemental security spending package will hurt the service's efforts to train Ukrainian troops.

Coverage from this year's Space Symposium in Colorado Springs:

Kendall beginning two programs under new 'quickstart' authority

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall is already getting started on his "quickstart" initiatives, just weeks after the fiscal year 2024 budget appropriated funds for the new process for rapid prototyping for new-start programs.

Space Force releases Commercial Space Strategy

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- The Space Force today released its long-awaited Commercial Space Strategy, which offers descriptions of what capabilities the service will seek and what processes it will create to ensure commercial integration.

Inside Defense was able to briefly chat with the Navy's No. 1 civilian official following Wednesday's Navy and Marine Corps budget hearing with the House Appropriations defense subcommittee:

Foreign shipyard repairs may be viable future option, Del Toro tells House appropriators

Opening the door to repairs on U.S. Navy ships in foreign countries is one way to ease pressure on domestic shipyards -- an idea that will be included in the service's fiscal year 2025 legislative proposals, according to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro.

Jon Elliott, chief of test and evaluation and director of AI assess and assurance in CDAO, said this week that data security and protection is vital to DOD technology transition:

CDAO official says secure data sharing is key for tech transition

An official from the Defense Department's chief digital artificial intelligence office said today that CDAO is focused on providing tools for "data mesh" and establishing "AI pipelines" to help the transition of technology, something he noted the government currently struggles with because of data security.

In its fiscal year 2025 budget request, the Air Force indicated its fleet would reach 4,903 aircraft -- a historic low -- as the service moves to divest 250 aircraft and procure 99:

Air Force fleet will continue to hollow out as service balances readiness and modernization

The Air Force's aircraft inventory is on track to remain under 5,000 "for the remainder of the budget horizon," the service's top planner said Tuesday, hinting it could even drop close to 4,000 by 2029.

News on Army cannons:

Army eyes Next Generation Howitzer new start, third attempt at leap-ahead artillery

The Army, after a failed five-year project to rapidly prototype a self-propelled, extended-range cannon, wants to launch a new-start Next Generation Howitzer program, marking a third attempt since the end of the Cold War to build a leap-ahead artillery system -- this time with a goal to counter threats forecasted in 2040 and beyond.

Army to hold competitive howitzer evaluation in FY-25

After hosting an industry day to evaluate existing capabilities, the Army plans to hold a competitive evaluation for a new self-propelled 155mm howitzer in fiscal year 2025.

The Pentagon's new Transition Tracking Action Group will focus on ensuring that cutting edge systems and tools rapidly reach the hands of military personnel:

DOD stands up new team to track technology transitions

Heidi Shyu, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, inaugurated the Transition Tracking Action Group today in the hopes of giving the Pentagon greater visibility into its technology transition process.

The Army's fiscal year 2025 budget request for the Integrated Battle Command System proposes $2.1 billion for system development and demonstration funding over five years, a substantial increase compared to the FY-24 five-year plan which forecasted $1.1 billion:

Army doubles IBCS development funding in new five-year plan; ties in F-35, THAAD, more

The Army is doubling funding in its updated five-year budget plan for the Integrated Battle Command System in an effort to expedite development of software needed to integrate a list of new sensors, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, the Remote Interceptor Guidance-360 and more.